Supernatural has been haunting audiences around the world for over a decade. Now in its twelfth season, there have been many foes from the dark side that have come and gone, and come back again in a different form, and then gone, and then come back for one last scare before being finally... gone... maybe. Either way, no matter how many times a creature crawls back out of Hell (or Heaven), or visits the Winchesters in their oh so frequent nightmares, there are some incredibly notable villains that deserve to be recognized for their efforts. God should really be on this list for being completely absent in the course of Hell being opened up, and the entirety of Heaven battling each other as well as the rest of the world, but there's no photo...
Sam and Dean Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki, and Jensen Ackles respectively), are so consistently in the spotlight, people sometimes forget about their once favourite villain from this season or that, aside from the very frequent callers, it can be hard to keep track of the poker-playing witch, the tortured vampire-hunter-turned-vampire, or the illusory Djinn, or one of the massive list of demons, or any of the near 100 other baddies found in this dark corner. Given that, and without any spoilers from the most recent seasons, presented here are 15 of the most incredibly badass Supernatural villains of all time.
15 The Djinn
Perhaps one of the most frightening creatures to have been faced by Sam and Dean, the Djinn is no Disney-styled superhero. Though he does grant wishes, they come at a fatal, and illusory cost. Reading Dean's thoughts, this mystical being created a fantasy world in which every aspect of Dean's life was made whole: his father was dead, his mother alive, Sam and his fiancée were alive and well, he had a wife, and a job in a garage; he had everything he could need. The cost? Realistically being tied up, and slowly drained of blood until the imaginary world seemingly played out to the end, and in reality, only days had transpired. This might not have been a terrible cost for Dean in the long run, and he was of course more than tempted to stay, but for the love of his brother, and for all the soul-saving needed in reality, he gave up his fantasy. The Djinn may have done more damage to Dean than most things, other than perhaps his trip to Hell.
14 Gordon Walker
Seemingly a good guy, Gordon (played by Sterling K. Brown), was a vampire hunter with an incredible agenda. Not only did he waste the vampires who attacked his sister, but he also decapitated his sister after she turned fang. Clearly an unstable individual, Gordon saw things only in black and white terms. No vampire could possibly be a good vampire, he thought. Sam though, having a soft spot for all things supernatural, learns that the brood of vampires that Gordon is hunting are all off human blood, and surviving on other animals. What's more? Gordon knows this, but doesn't care. Saving the innocent, Sam and Dean battle Gordon and let the vampires flee. Once Gordon discovers that Sam has demon blood coursing through his veins, that black and white sight comes back, even after he is himself turned into a vampire: his most hated enemy. His proposed "Two last good deeds. Killing [Sam], and killing [himself]."
13 The Shapeshifter
Leaving a pile of biological sludge behind when shifting shape, these creatures have been responsible for incredible pains in Sam and Dean's asses. Especially Dean's. Framing Dean for murder in St. Louis, got the FBI's Agent Henriksen on the trail of the dynamic duo, with a particular hate for Dean. Able to change its likeness countless times, the shifter must keep the person whose form they've taken alive in order to harness their likeness and their thoughts and memories. This fact happened to cause more trouble for the shapeshifter than it did for Dean though, as once Dean confronted... himself, and shot the creature, the blame was placed on a presumed dead Dean Winchester (until proof of his existence surfaced), and the boys were able to lay low for a time, though Dean is humorously put out that he will miss his own funeral. The second encounter with a shapeshifter sees the introduction of Agent Henriksen who had been on the boys' trail for some time, though they of course avoid capture... until a later date.
12 Meg Masters
Probably the most attractive, though not original, vessel that was Meg Masters, depicted above, perhaps in not the most attractive scene, is one of several vessels the demon daughter of Azazel inhabits. Originally a good girl from Massachusetts, Meg Masters was possessed by an unnamed demon who, after being exorcised from her original host, returned from Hell using the same alias, time and again, to interfere with the Winchesters. Playing Sam easily— a recurring theme for Sam and demons— Meg gets close to the boys, and brings their daddy John (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan), out in the open. Apart from the demon 'Meg' appearing in many episodes over several seasons, the ghost of the actual Meg Masters does come to Sam and Dean at one point, and seeks revenge on them for the pain they inflicted upon her while she was possessed, and for the suicide of her sister upon hearing of her untimely demise. Though Meg's dying words were that of thanks, her spirit, part of the rising of the witnesses, one of the seal broken by Lilith, was turned vengeful in the wake of the dark forces summoning her.
The demon who understands playing the long game, Azazel sets plans in motion to free Lucifer decades before Sam and Dean become the evil-killing machines they are so well known for being. This is the demon responsible for the addictive demon blood coursing through Sam Winchester's veins. Making Sam one of his special children, Azazel pits Winchester and several other super-powered kids against one another. It is in this battle that Sam dies for the first time, brought back by Dean's deal with a demon at the crossroads. Azazel, most notably played by actor Fredric Lehne, takes everything near and dear to Sam and Dean: he kills their grandparents, their mother, Sam's girlfriend, takes their father to Hell in a deal to save Dean, and turns Sam into a demonic freak. If this is not enough to make Azazel ruthless, upon his death, hundreds of demons are released at the gate to Hell, and he continues to haunt Sam and Dean for seasons after his death.
10 Fergus Roderick MacLeod - AKA Crowley
A seventeenth century man, after his death, and stint in Hell, turning him into a demon, MacLeod became the Supernatural villain loved by so many, Crowley. The former king of the crossroads, this deceptive, and conniving demon served at the right hand of Lilith until her death and Lucifer's release, whereupon he crowned himself the King of Hell, and sought to make an alliance with Sam and Dean in order to send Lucifer back to his cage, and maintain control of the depths. Most notably played by actor Mark Sheppard, Crowley changes his allegiances faster than Sam and Dean dispatch evil baddies. Siding with angels, demons, and humans, whenever it serves his devious plans, Crowley is a formidable foe, and a fantastic ally when he sees fit. Spanning season five to the current season, one can't forget the pattern the Winchesters have when working with demons... it always goes bad in the end.
This very twisted demon is the first. The very first demon, created by Lucifer to spite God when cast down from Heaven. Lilith takes great pleasure in inhabiting the bodies of little girls, tormenting the families of the little vessels before, at long last, killing them off, often slowly and gleefully. She also has a particular hankering for little baby blood, and has a special chef who nabs the little tykes from maternity wards to bring them home for the feast. Released at Azazel's death, Lilith goes about breaking the 66 seals to release Lucifer from captivity, meeting the Winchesters' at only certain key seals, her and her demonic brethren break the seals with relative ease until, at long last, at St. Mary's Convent, where Azazel first slaughtered a group of nuns in the guise of a priest, coming full circle, Lilith gives herself to Sam's powers, dying as the 66th seal, and raising Lucifer from Hell.
8 Patrick The Poker-Playing Witch
Living a charmed life, this 900-year-old Irish witch, played by one Hal Ozsen, has found an incredibly long life by way of playing poker not for money, but for years. Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), having discovered the witch, seeks to play him to get back his youth, and the hopeful use of his legs, but having lost 25 years in the deal, Sam and Dean go in search. Dean, fancying himself a poker player, plays for Bobby's years back, but also loses. Dean challenges the witch again, but Patrick states he's no murderer; he doesn't take years from someone to kill them. Sam, seemingly against the wishes of Bobby and Dean, challenges the witch to a game for both Bobby and Dean's years back, while Patrick's girlfriend secretly gives the boys a spell to undo all the magic the witch has worked. Found out, Patrick angrily plays Sam until he himself loses, and returns Bobby and Dean to normal. Patrick's girlfriend insists on playing him, and goes all in on a hand she knows she will lose, killing herself, and leaving the poker-playing witch alone in the world. Though tortured, if he's not badass, he's certainly got class.
Perhaps the most surprisingly conniving demon of them all, and therefore one of the most badass, Ruby sides with Sam and Dean early on, helping them to slaughter demon after demon, saving them from perilous situations, and doing everything she can to prove her loyalty, including offering her life as a show of her true intentions. But knowing each move the Winchesters were likely to take, and playing them perfectly, Ruby, in spite of all the pain endured during her feigned alliance with the boys, and the torment, and attempts on her life from her fellow demons, finally shows her true colours when she reveals to Sam, having just killed Lilith, that she was the final seal, and Lucifer would be free at long last. Having spent all of his energy on killing Lilith, Sam holds Ruby, as Dean repeatedly stabs her to death with the demon-killing knife she gave to them as a show of good will.
6 The Trickster Gabriel
It could be contested whether or not Gabriel is truly a villain, but considering the hilarious torment he puts the Winchesters through, he may as well be included here. First appearing as a Trickster, this supposed god-like sweet tooth loves dishing up just desserts, and in the most hilarious ways. Using local legends, and common myths, he kills, or tortures his victims in humorously ironic and/or embarrassing ways. For instance, not long before he reveals himself to be an angel, Gabriel plays a Groundhog Day prank on Sam, killing Dean in hundreds of ways, and tormenting Sam's mind in an attempt to show Sam that there is nothing he can do to stop his brother from going to Hell. Then Gabriel throws the brothers into T.V. land to hit home the point that they need to simply play their proper roles. Once revealed as an angel, it is clear that Gabriel just wants it all to end, enraged that his family (Michael and Lucifer— and the whole host under both) can do nothing but fight while their father leaves them abandoned.
The demonic torture expert from Hell, Alastair took Dean to task in the pit, ripping him apart each day, offering Dean solace in return for the torturing of others. Refusing for what was the equivalent of thirty years in Hell, Dean finally succumbed to the bliss that was exercising power over others, saving himself from torture. For Hell's equivalent of ten years, Dean enjoyed torturing the souls of others. Once Alastair emerged from Hell, and Dean had him on the rack for a bit of revenge, it was revealed to Dean that the very first seal was broken when Dean first shed blood in the depths. Alastair had attempted to break the seal with John Winchester, but after a century of torture, John escaped from Hell. Before Dean can really ease into torturing his former Hell master, the angel Uriel aids Alastair in breaking free, but Sam, now jacked on demon blood, thanks to Ruby, holds Alastair in place, and while he tries to mock Sam, Sam simply murders him with hardly any effort, thanks to his incredible demon-given, demon-killing powers.
The light-bringer himself; the morning star, the angel who fell to Hell with a host at his side, who created demons to spite God, and who simply seeks a life devoid of the travesty that is God's favourite creation: humans. Spending most of his time trapped in a cage, in Hell, Lucifer finally finds his way topside, after the breaking of the 66 seals, and seeks to persuade Sam to accept his role as Lucifer's vessel to combat the Archangel Michael. Played out in an alternate reality, in time travel, Dean is able to see what becomes of him and his brother, Lucifer taking Sam as his vessel, and Dean refusing Michael: Sam/Lucifer murder Dean with ease. When faced with the true reality, Sam is able to take control of his body and mind, trapping Lucifer once again in his cage. This doesn't stop him from reaching out to Sam in the future though, and eventually getting to Castiel to release him from imprisonment. One of the strongest forces faced by the Winchesters, one might still expect more from the Lord of Hell.
3 Bela Talbot
Definitely the hottest villain... anti-hero... ally... whatever she truly is, (she comes across far more as a villain, until the reveal of just why she does what she does), Bela (Abbie) was a brilliant and wealthy con artist, dealing in mystical and magical wares, sold to the highest bidder. As a teen, a young, and inexperienced Bela, sold her soul at the crossroads in exchange for the murder of her sexually and mentally abusive parents. Slinking through life as a thief, fraud, and dealer in magical items, Bela lived a life of luxury, frowned upon by hunters who had been repeatedly screwed over by this brazen beauty. Nearing the end of her harrowing contract, Bela sought to work with the demons in order to have her contract broken, but alas, though she succeeded in stealing the colt from the boys, her failed attempts at killing Sam ultimately sealed her fate at the tooth and claw of the hell hounds.
Famine, perhaps the most bizarre of the four horsemen, this wheezing, wheel-chair-ridden, soul hungry creature drives anyone in his presence absolutely bonkers with hunger. Taking an opposing approach, instead of starving people, he simply exudes a person's hunger for the basic needs of humanity, to the nth degree. Driving people mad for drink, for food, for sex; all the desires that sit, hardly withheld, within all people. So powerful is his influence that even Castiel's vessel was affected by an insatiable desire for red meat. If even an angel could not withstand the hunger pangs that Famine wrought, then how could the Winchesters? Sam, driven made for his fix of demon blood, drains and destroys several demons in the course of being influenced, including those trapped within Famine himself, weakening him long enough that the soulless Dean can retrieve the rings that gives the horseman his power.
1 Sam Winchester
Yes, yes, he couldn't possibly be considered a villain. He's such a sweetheart, he has so much concern for others, and he's just a supremely jacked puppy who is easily taken advantage of. Sure, but also, he's a villain, and one of the most difficult ones to face. Nevermind having been possessed before, Sam, "ingester" of demon blood, with the blood of Azazel surging through his veins already, has been a great villain to himself, Dean and many more throughout the course of the show. Killing hunters, almost killing Jo (Dean's sexy love interest for a time), trying to kill Dean, not to mention unleashing Lucifer upon the world, Sam is his own worst enemy, perhaps even more than his love for his brother. Sam even accepts Lucifer into his body, and though he does manage to trap him once again, the weakness or naivety of Sam Winchester could be one of the greatest villains of the entire show that is Supernatural.